And what a fitting title it is for this particular episode. Not only is The Walking Dead remaining consistent, but it is now on a mission to go above and beyond since last season. “Infected” was an episode that felt different from the rest. It was more gory, the audience was able to connect with the characters and their surroundings and it is overall trying to have a snowball effect. I have a great feeling that the worst is yet to come and I can’t believe it when I say that I absolutely look forward to next week’s episode.
One of the reasons why this episode stands out from previous episodes is because the main characters now fear each other. As I mentioned in my last review, trust issues are going to arise. For instance, who is feeding rats to the walkers? Obviously it is someone within the prison or it is someone who broke in. My guess is that it’s the Governor. Once again, we did not see him in this week’s episode but he will make a dramatic return sooner or later. Then, there is an even bigger issue at hand. We all knew since Season 1 that everyone in the world is infected. This is the first episode where the writers are truly utilizing this notion. There is an obvious sickness that is spreading across the characters and most are aware of the danger it could cause. I’m happy to see that Rick understands the seriousness of the situation as he tells Carl to back away from him.
From the safety of their compound, the infection found its way in thanks to Patrick. I was a little disappointed to see that only the expendable characters were the ones getting bit. The writers took a huge advantage of using the survivors of Woodbury as victims of the walkers. However, this was used to introduce to the characters to the fact that this infection is extremely dangerous and deadly. One doesn’t need to get bitten to become “one of them”. Since everyone has been living close together for a few months (maybe a year?) in the prison, this infection has to be in the early stages for some of our favorite characters.
I really like the way the writers have evolved Carol’s character. Being that there are children in the prison, she has been acting like the mother of the group. She’s very caring but doesn’t sugar-coat the status of the world. First we see her teach the kids how to use a knife and now we see her teaching Mika and Lizzie how to deal with the loss of a loved one. When Lizzie can’t bring herself to knife her own father, Carol steps up and does it for her. Nothing forceful but just straight to the point. Later on, she has to explain to the girls that just because someone turns into a walker it doesn’t mean they are still the same person. A walker is not a representation of who that person was in the past. That way, it’ll be easier to face the walkers head on and not run away from them. It’s a harsh reality for these kids and Carol is the best teacher for them.
As the council discusses the newly found threat in their own backyard, Tyreese walks down the hall with a coughing Karen. Haven’t these people learned by now that starting a love relationship in an apocalyptic world will never end well? Aside from Glenn and Maggie, nothing positive comes out of these love stories. I found it interesting that the group wanted to start isolating the sick people in a death row section of the prison.
As if the problems weren’t bad enough, now we have barriers falling down thanks to the person (I’m telling you, it’s the Governor) feeding rats to the walkers. It was a very intense scene as the chain-link fences were starting to topple over. In order to lure the walkers away, Rick only had one drastic solution, which was to use the last remaining pigs that they had as bait. But something about this didn’t settle right with Rick. Each cut that he gave to the next pig was becoming harder and harder to do. The last pig splattered blood on his face. Is he worried that one day he’ll have to become bait to the walkers for the good of others? Only time will tell.
Michonne’s character has really changed as well. She has become more human with these past two episodes. She’s been smiling and laughing a lot more which was strange but nice to see at the same time. This week, she couldn’t hold back her tears as she was holding baby Judith. Without the episode giving any kind of backstory, it’s obvious that she once had a child who became a victim of the plague. As Beth was saying, how come there isn’t a term for a person who’s lost a child?
Rick begs a great question as to whether the pigs infected them or vice versa. Regardless, Rick understands the severity and tells Carl to stay away from Judith for her own protection. Moments later, Rick gives Carl his gun back as Rick straps on his gun holster. The cherry on top was the way he put his famous six-shooter on his side. Every great main character of any show or movie has a specific weapon that only belongs to them. I can’t picture Rick with an AK-47 or 9mm Pistol. It’s that slick, clean Colt Python that should be in his hands at all times. Seeing him put that gun back in his possession gives me great hope for this season. Later, as was easily predicted, Tyreese follows a bloody trail to find Karen and another body burned to death. I told you nothing comes good out of love stories for this show. I fear for Glenn and Maggie.
The producers of this show promised more walkers, violence and conflict for Season 4 and so far they have delivered. With only 2 episodes down, there will be a ton of ground to cover and many possible routes this show could go. Regardless, I love where this show is at right now. It feels fresh yet nostalgic of how the show once used to be. I hope that it remains consistent, as I am not even asking for each episode to get better and better. If it can keep the momentum it has now, decrease the filler “soap-opera” drama, less emphasis on the love stories, and push the bar with the violence, then Season 4 may be the best yet. Overall, the writers need to move out of their comfort zone and grab the bull by the horns. This means that a main character or two will die if they want to make this infection believable. If one main character dies, then we know that no one is safe. Here’s to hoping.